A few weeks ago, I finally got around to acquiring a local number for my cell phone. I was hanging on to that Wilmington number not out of bittersweet nostalgia, but out of gross procrastination. Finally, on that fateful day, four months of complaints regarding the paying of long distance when calling locally penetrated the laziness, and I was spurred to action.
After leaving Sprint, Mom and I went to Schultz’s, the smaller grocery store in town.
This might be a good time to explain that I’ve always had an irritating memory. It’s disgusted my mother for nearly too many years to count…but I’d wager it’s somewhere between twenty-four years and twenty-four years and three months. It isn’t that my skill is so profound, but that I remember stupid, inconsequential things. For instance, on June 2nd, 2003, I had a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard from Dairy Queen. It was a hot day in Wilmington, and as the daylight dimmed, we closed the windows and prayed to the air conditioning gods. A Golden Girls reunion special aired that night.
See what I mean? This would irritate a healthy memoried-individual, to say nothing of a woman who has a hard time remembering why she entered a room. Clearly, I received my father’s memory: he irritates her too. (Humorously, I use that colon as an explanation to the preceding clause…but honestly, I have no proof that Mom’s irritation with him stems from his powers of memory at all.) Dad still remembers being a young, irresponsible hotshot with a sports car, and his father telling him, “There may be a lot of horses under the hood, but there’s a jackass behind the wheel.”
Anyway, you now understand the background, the genetic tendency, and the dynamic behind my parents’ relationship.
I was reciting the new number as we entered the grocery store. I put it to a rhythm, and gave my voice a sort of singsong inflection. Over and over again, I repeated the exercise. As my mother pushed the cart huffily down the aisles, grabbing ingredients for stew, I sang. A woman stocking the produce section glanced my way and offered a nervous smile. Three men working the meat counter nodded my way around a grin. The lady who serves the lunch specials smirked as I continued my recitation in the background of Mom’s lunch order. It is very important that one’s contact number rolls off the tongue, and how often do you call yourself?—If you’ve got a life, I mean?
It’s catchy. It still gets stuck in my head and I feel myself humming my phone number song. Mom called me last night, her irritation mostly cooled, and berated me for not singing the phone number song with her lately…oh how the tides have changed! She had to look up my number…oh the absurdity! I told her to call the meat department at Schultz’s next time she forgets.